In the 2014 European elections 12 EU member states will each lose one seat and none will gain any, under a draft decision endorsed by Parliament on Wednesday. These reductions are needed in order to comply with the 751-seat limit set by the Lisbon Treaty and to make room for Croatia's MEPs.
The draft European Council decision, approved by Parliament by 574 votes to 71, with 39 abstentions, leaves unchanged the redistribution of seats between member states proposed by MEPs on 13 March 2013. After Parliament's consent, the text still needs to be formally adopted by all EU heads of state and government at the 27-28 June summit.
The proposed solution means that 12 member states – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania – will each lose one seat at the next European elections. The remaining three seats have to come from Germany, whose share must go down from 99 seats to 96, the maximum allowed by the Lisbon Treaty (see table below).
This solution should avoid a "traumatic reallocation of seats, with heavy losses for medium and small member states and huge increases for big ones." It is also "the "least imperfect of the possible solutions", said lead MEPs Rafał Trzaskowski (EPP, PL) and Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT).
Looking ahead to the 2019 elections
The agreement states that this allocation of seats should be revised before the 2019 elections on the basis of a proposal by the European Parliament presented before the end of 2016, to ensure that seats are distributed in an "objective, fair, durable and transparent way". This should respect the principle of "degressive proportionality", whereby MEPs from larger member states represent more citizens than those from smaller ones, reflect any change in the number of member states and demographic trends, and respect the overall balance of the institutional system.
|Member States||Current allocation of seats||Proposed allocation of seats||Difference|
* The three extra German seats were part of a transitional arrangement that expires at the end of the current parliamentary term.